Kids Corner


Sikh-Aussie Woman Made Member of Order Of Australia For Feeding Poor & Homeless:
Anant Kaur Sandhu





Known fondly as “Mrs Singh”, Sardarni Anant Kaur Sandhu is a recipient of an AM, or Member in the General Division of 'The Order of Australia.'

"I can’t believe it. I’m just an ordinary person. Why me?” She says.

Born into a Sikh-Malaysian family in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Anant Kaur moved to Australia 42 years ago.

“The children had come here to study and they wanted to stay on Australia," she explains. "So we looked at coming here as well. A friend living in Adelaide sponsored us, and that’s how we arrived in the city in 1976.

“I was in my late 40s when we opened Jasmin restaurant in the year 1980. On 18 January  this year, we celebrated 38 years of the restaurant. Although I didn’t have formal training in hospitality, but I was always interested in food and cooking. My mother was a fantastic chef and I was inspired by her.”

Many famous cricketers have known to frequent the restaurant over the years.

Anant Kaur says, “Famous cricketers like Nawab of Pataudi, Gavaskar, Kapil Dev and Ravi Shastri have frequented our restaurant. Several players from the  English and West Indian teams have also come by."

She recalls how John Howard once came to her restaurant many years ago. "He signed our book as ‘the next Prime Minister,' and sure enough, he did go on to become the next Prime Minister of Australia.”

Known simply as “Mrs Singh” in Adelaide, she has received an Australia Day Honour for serving food to the homeless every week. The restaurant has won many awards through the years. But it is her penchant for selfless service and the determination to “give back to the community that has always supported us," that has led to this year’s Australia Day Honour in being made a Member of the Order of Australia.  

Since 1996, dozens of homeless people come to the parkland outside her restaurant every Thursday, and they are served freshly cooked food.

“This food is made especially for them, so it isn’t very spicy, and we cater for people with allergies," she says.

"Usually, we pack rice, vegetables and meat (or seafood) in a plastic container and give it to the homeless.

"When we first started, we had 30-40 people coming for the meal, but now, we serve around 70-80 people weekly.”

She recalls how this came about in 1996. “We have a park in front of our restaurant," she explains. "Anglicare used to bring homeless people there every now and then, and  serve some sausages, and maybe chops. One cold evening, I looked at them and thought, how do they survive with this?”

Anant Kaur spoke to Anglicare and they agreed to having food from the restaurant served on a weekly basis, and that’s how it all began. 

“Every Christmas, we serve them a feast – ham, turkey, fried chicken, prawns, pies cakes soft drinks and more. We generally have more than 100 people for the Christmas meal.

“I know its only one meal we serve every week, but I think it makes a difference in their lives,” she says. 

And adds: “We must do whatever we can, no matter how little, for the community around us. Ours is a very small initiative and we certainly didn’t do this to win any award. But everyone must give back.

Sharing her philosophy in life, Anant Kaur says, "Work hard and be nice to people. Somebody may be poor today, but they could have had better days previously. We have some people who come for meals, who were once placed in good positions. So we must treat everyone – the rich and the poor – equally!"

[Courtesy: SBS. Edited for]
January 29, 2018

Conversation about this article

1: Ajit Singh Batra (Pennsville, New Jersey, USA), January 30, 2018, 3:34 PM.

Sikhism believes in and promotes equality, fraternity and fellowship, expressing itself in humanism when serving langar to the greater sangat regardless of background or circumstances. Commendable seva by Anant Kaur ji, living like a true Sikh, when she serves the homeless appearing in the park in front of her restaurant.

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Anant Kaur Sandhu"

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